United Nations Human Rights Council
Chairs: Alana Chernyak and Halie Kim
Topic A: Criminal Justice Reform
One of the primary needs of a post-conflict state is to strengthen and develop rule of law. Strengthening the rule of law is fundamental to recovering from a conflict because it strengthens institutions and restores citizens’ faith in the legitimacy of their government. In many conflict-affected societies, gross violations of human rights have occurred and/or are ongoing, and there are demands for accountability from domestic and international actors, from victims and the society at large. It is for this reason that transitional justice processes have been developed. At the same time, many of the structural elements that enabled or actively created these violations endure, and require reform. Thus, rule of law reform and security sector reform processes have also emerged in such conflict-affected societies. This paper examines the interactions amongst these processes, as well as the role of actors at various levels: locally, nationally, transnationally and internationally, to identify key challenges for practitioners.
Topic B: Rights of Indigenous Peoples
There does not seem to be one definitive definition of indigenous people, but generally indigenous people are those that have historically belonged to a particular region or country, before its colonization or transformation into a nation state, and may have different cultural, linguistic, traditional, and other characteristics to those of the dominant culture of that region or state. Indigenous rights belong to the original people of a land that has been conquered and colonized by outsiders. These rights include basic human rights of physical survival and integrity and the preservation of their land, language, religion, and other elements of cultural heritage that are a part of their existence as a people. There are 370 million Indigenous people in the world and while these groups are very diverse, there are common issues that affect Indigenous people globally.